It’s simple to make the hyperlink between the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers, who play one another in Week 13.
Head coach Mike McDaniel labored below Kyle Shanahan for nearly his whole profession previous to becoming a member of the Dolphins and introduced with him a plethora of gamers from the 49ers roster. Each groups additionally use loads of 21 personnel groupings (two operating backs, one tight finish and two receivers) and rank first and second in pre-snap movement, the Dolphins utilizing it 71 % of the time and the 49ers 65 %, per the Sports activities Info Options.
Oddly sufficient, that’s the place the similarities finish.
Whereas the 2 groups’ dashing video games are very alike, they differ schematically in relation to the passing sport. The hallmark of the 49ers’ offense within the Shanahan period has been the crew’s skill to wrack up yards after the catch (YAC) by getting the ball into the fingers of their playmakers in area and letting them churn out chunk performs down the sphere. San Francisco has ranked first in YAC per completion since 2018, and that features this 12 months. The Dolphins, in the meantime, rank thirtieth.
How might this be? How might a Shanahan disciple like McDaniel who’s been lauded for his creativity diverge from what made the 49ers so good over the previous 5 seasons?
It’s a mix of sport plan fashion and quarterback ability units.
Mike McDaniel hasn’t simply introduced Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers offense with him to Miami. He is upgraded it, at the least within the passing sport. (Moe Haidar/Yahoo Sports activities)
Dolphins do not run your father’s Shanahan offense
To know what McDaniel has accomplished, you must perceive the place his offensive fashion comes from first. He’s been within the Shanahan system (each with the daddy, Mike, and the son, Kyle) for 15 of the 17 years that he’s coached soccer. And for the previous 5 years, McDaniel helped construct the 49ers into what they’re right now.
That offense was constructed, primarily, to beat the NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams protection, in response to former 49ers quarterbacks coach and present College of Kentucky offensive coordinator Wealthy Scangarello. The Rams drive offenses to get the ball out shortly whereas stopping groups from going excessive on them. This stems from each their coverages (hiya, two-high safeties) and the actual fact the Rams have a bull-rusher like Aaron Donald in the midst of the line of defense to strain the quarterback.
To counter that, Shanahan created what we’ve seen in San Francisco for the previous few years: an offense with loads of fast passes and a artistic operating sport. It’s a part of the explanation why he’s 8-1 towards the Rams since 2019 with a plus-93 level distinction. Gamers like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle have been instrumental within the 49ers’ current success due to their YAC skill, and the skin zone runs (or the notion of outdoor zone, as Scangarello says) and hole runs unfold the protection out laterally to open up lanes for the operating backs.
The draw back of this offense is that it isn’t at all times conducive to numerous touchdowns. Because the chunk performs add up and the offense strikes nearer to the top zone, the sphere will get smaller and the chance for touchdowns decreases when your offense depends on catch-and-run performs reasonably than over-the-top pictures. (It must be famous, although, that the 49ers ranked first in pink zone landing proportion in 2021.)
McDaniel went the opposite route when he took over the Dolphins. Due to the crew round him, McDaniel opted much less for a methodical offense and extra of 1 that strikes exhausting and quick.
“I really feel like Mike has sort of utilized what they did within the previous days the place he took the quickest dudes, dynamic dudes and he’s threatening you down the sphere always, which is permitting the run sport to be environment friendly due to that menace and what it does to the safeties,” stated Scangarello, who labored with McDaniel below Shanahan with the 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. “And when he does take his pictures, these guys are scoring touchdowns.”
That is maybe the most important distinction — ideologically, at the least — between McDaniel and Shanahan. Whereas Shanahan seems content material with grinding out a tricky sport as long as it ends in a win, McDaniel needs to utterly devastate groups.
“[McDaniel] is an assault man,” Scangarello stated. “He’s a go-for-the-throat sort of man. He sort of does not come off that means ‘trigger he’s sort of humorous. He’s bought this nice, like, quirky persona. However he is a mad scientist. He is only a genius and he’ll go after you and he needs to chop you down.”
Miami’s software chest
The Dolphins constructed their offense round Tua Tagovailoa (1), and ex-49ers like Jeff Wilson Jr. have helped spherical it out. (Photograph by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photographs)
The Dolphins had been by no means going to be the 49ers of the Atlantic Coast due to the gamers already on the roster and those they finally added. Reasonably than retrofit his gamers to the offense, McDaniel did the alternative.
Tua Tagovailoa got here from an RPO (run-pass possibility) background in school, so McDaniel tailor-made his iteration of the offense he knew to his quarterback, equally to how Shanahan did with Robert Griffin III in Washington, Matt Ryan with the Falcons and finally Jimmy Garoppolo with the 49ers.
Due to this, the Dolphins use loads of play motion (36 %, second-most within the NFL per SIS) reasonably than conventional dropback passing makes an attempt (64 %, second-fewest within the NFL). The 49ers, in the meantime, rank twenty first in play motion and twelfth in dropback. Leaning into Tagovailoa’s strengths helped him turn into some of the correct passers within the NFL: He ranks first in yards-per-attempt and accomplished air yards per try and second in completion proportion and on-target passes by means of Week 11.
McDaniel stored the operating sport the identical to take care of the inspiration of the offense, too, by bringing Raheem Mostert over with him from San Francisco and finally buying and selling for Jeff Wilson Jr. Each operating backs gained notoriety for his or her understanding of the offense and have introduced it with them to Miami.
The ultimate piece was Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins already had a burner in 2021 first-rounder Jaylen Waddle, however Hill provides an additional layer of velocity to the offense. Reasonably than looking for his receivers in area, all Tagovailoa wanted to do was hit his pass-catchers at exact places — which more often than not are at the least 10 yards downfield.
And thus far, it’s labored. Tagovailoa is probably the most environment friendly quarterback within the NFL proper now, whereas Hill and Waddle rank first and fifth, respectively, in receiving yards on the 12 months, in addition to fourth and seventh in common depth of goal amongst wideouts with at the least 50 receptions, per SIS. The Dolphins lead the AFC East with a 7-3 file popping out of their bye week and are a sport again of the No. 1 seed within the convention.
“Mike McDaniel is the neatest soccer coach I’ve met within the occupation,” Scangarello stated. “And his creativeness and his skill to reinvent the offense and make it look totally different is such a unprecedented trait that it retains it recent, it retains it revolutionary, and I feel the best way that knowledge is collected right now and folks might watch movies so shortly retains him forward of different individuals. And … that is an enormous cause why it is so environment friendly.”